As a professional assistant, you may have cause to create or refine business proposals. Either for a boss, a client or yourself. 

For more complicated projects, this could be done with paid software or even in Microsoft Word, of course. But if the matter is simpler, this is a task PowerPoint can handle. 

If you’re new in business or just starting out as a VA, it is a way to make your proposals stand out from a plain text document. My online course will help to show you how. 

Picture of a man holding a ring box next to a red rose

Here are some elements you will want to consider when putting it all together. 

Title Page 

This is like a cover page. It states who the proposal is for and includes a name for the project. 

You can include a logo or branding on this page. You could add a background image or simply use plain text with brand colours. 

Introduction 

Keep this short and sweet. 

You greet the prospect or client and let them know the context. It could be something as simple as this. 

“Hey Angela, great to speak with you last week. Based on your conversation, here is the proposed way forward with this project.” 

This maintains a personal touch yet doesn’t lapse into waffle. You are getting down to business in a professional manner. 

The Challenge 

If you have been listening well during the conversation with the client or prospect, you will know what their challenges and needs are. 

This is the time to put all that down in a clear, concise summary. As the person reads this section they should be giving verbal nods, recognising that you’ve captured and covered it all with accuracy and understanding. 

You could use bullet points here but make sure you think of this as part of their business story. See the Challenge or ‘Needs’ section as part of the overall story – and write it that way. Give it some flow and punch. 

The Solution 

Time for you to provide the answer and explain why you, your product or your services are the solution to the client’s challenge. 

You can add a bit of a profile of yourself, setting out relevant experience, knowledge, qualifications and skills. But don’t go overboard. 

You want to focus on your solution. This is where you set out what you will do to achieve the solution.  

The Breakdown 

The Solution section provides the specific outline of the product, service or other ‘answer’ to the challenge or need. 

For creating a series of eBooks, for example, a professional assistant might have a process that includes research and discovery, writing, reviewing and editing, and graphic design stages. 

You would set those out so the prospect or client can see what’s involved and how you approach the task. 

Success Factors 

Some clients, especially in the business world, might ask you to lay out the factors which may be involved or required for the successful completion of the project. 

Examples of factors include the setting of a clear project goal, budget, planning and preparation, communications and potential risks. 

It is also useful to set out what constitutes the completion of the project. When will both parties know that it’s all done? 

Timeframe 

Clients typically want to know when a project can be completed by or have a timeline in mind. It’s something that should have been raised and covered in the initial conversation. 

This is the section where you put all that information down. Some timings may be fixed, some flexible. Where a deadline is critical, you should also set down what delays or other consequences it can have on the project completion.  

This is a proposal. Timings in real life can shift. Having something in the document to acknowledge that is no bad thing. It adds some protection and reassures the client you understand the nature of the work. 

Pricing 

This is the section where some freelancers and business owners can get a little nervous. There’s no need to be. 

When you consider how much you have put into the previous sections, it will reaffirm the value of your proposed solution. 

What you plan to charge is entirely down to you. If you’re creating a proposal for a boss or client, they’ll give you the numbers. 

The important thing is to set out the fees and charges in a clear and simple way. At this critical stage of the document, you don’t want to confuse or frustrate the reader. 

Just spell it out for them. 

Here’s the solution. Here’s the price. Here’s the breakdown of the total. 

If you’re including any discounts or special rates in the deal, make sure they are clear as well. 

Payment Schedule 

This is where you give information about how that fee or price is going to be paid. 

Is it 100 per cent upfront? Is it half now, half on completion? Are there multiple-stage payments?  

Set it all out in a logical fashion. 

Next Steps 

So, you’ve set out your proposal. It’s now time to let the prospect or client know what to do next. 

Guide them. Tell them what to do if they accept your proposal. Explain what to do if they don’t accept it. 

Offer to answer any questions if it helps them to decide. 

Terms and Conditions 

The small print is important.  

It protects you. It protects the client. 

Sometimes the wording on a legal T&C document can be long. If so, one option would be to place it in a PDF and attach it with the proposal in PowerPoint. 

Setting it Out on Slides 

Once you have the words for your proposal, you can set them out – together with any visuals – in PowerPoint. 

You can send the file as an attached document or place it in a secure shared area (such as OneDrive for Business, Dropbox or Google Drive). 

If you want to get to grips with PowerPoint, a good starting point is to Master the Slide Master. This shows you how to handle themes, templates, layouts, design and the look of the presentation. 

To cover all your bases and really master PowerPoint for proposals and other visual projects, my ‘perfect’ course is for you. 

Keep it simple. Keep it structured. Keep it relevant to the reader throughout. 

Follow this advice and you’ll probably find those proposal conversation rates start to rise. 

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

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James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
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Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

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A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

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Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

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